Gayle stars as Jamaica take the first day
Jamaica 135 for 2 (Gayle 57*) trail Barbados 142 (Hinds 43) by 7 runs
On a pitch ripe for fast bowlers, Jamaica ripped through Barbados' batting line-up and then racked up 135 for 2 by the end of the first day of the Carib Beer International Shield final. Barbados had been bolstered by the return of a number of players from the Test squad, but were bundled out for 142, with only Ryan Hinds (43) standing out among the batsmen. Though Jamaica lost an early wicket, and one more a while later, Chris Gayle, who opened the batting, kept a firm rein on the proceedings and was unbeaten on 57.
Barbados, with seven consecutive victories and a draw - on a dead pitch - had come into the finals as firm favourites, and the ground they chose to play on - North Stars - was expected to have bounce which would favour their fast bowlers. But when Jamaica won the toss and chose to bowl, Barbados soon found themselves under enormous pressure. Andrew Richardson dismissed Martin Nurse, an 18-year-old whose inclusion was due more to potential than a good record, for a duck, and not long after, Sherwin Campbell and Kurt Wilkinson were trudging back as well (21 for 3).
Things looked like getting back together for Barbados when Hinds and Floyd Reifer put on 47, but then, on 18, Reifer was stumped off Gayle (68 for 4). All pretensions of a fight were thrown out from here on. Tino Best showed some spirit with 30 runs, but the other batsmen were dismissed for inconsequential scores, and found themselves fielding before half the day was over.
Maurice Kepple and Gayle got off to a satisfactory start for Jamaica, before Corey Collymore had Kepple caught (44 for 1). Pedro Collins then had a say in the proceedings when he trapped Donovan Pagon in front after a 42-run stand with Gayle, who went on to his half-century with Tamar Lambert for company. At the end of the day's play, Jamaica were at 135 for 2, just eight short of a first-innings lead, and Barbados had plenty of hard work in store.